Anyone get anxious about cooking and preparing food?

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LimboMan
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05 Aug 2016, 5:17 pm

I'm going to move away from my parents a few weeks to live away to study, for a year. I tried it once but I ended up coming back because I was anxious about the changes in self independence and ASD difficulties didnt help.
This time though I have to push through it. I really hope to be independent of my parents as living with them only seems a option if I want to be very stressed, sadly.
This topic is about food preparing and cooking. I'm a guy and don't have much experience with cooking. This is the biggest part of the move I am worried about, most other aspects are very positive. I am worried I will always do something wrong when it comes to food, specifically dinner or anything to do with the cooker as lunch/snacks and breakfast you don't need to worry about that really.
I am a vegeterian so I don't need to worry much about overcooked meat. But its the preparing food wrong part which worries me. Lots of food I've seen the preparing details are very scarce, or even show diagrams of instruction I can't understand and I get into a panic. And then there's using the oven and the hob. Even the sound of the oven running makes me think its going to blow up or cause a fire (serious) and the hissing of the saucepans makes me on edge. Its just the thought of preparing something wrong or missing a step and the hidden safety aspects rules I need to know operating these machines. And if someone is making lots of things at once to put on their plate, I don't know how they can do that multitasking.

Can anyone make me feel better about food and cooking when you live independently and no Mum to cook there for you? There will be a microwave there thankfully but even then I'd be anxious about operating it wrong.


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05 Aug 2016, 5:46 pm

Hello, im 19 and ivebeen independently living for almost a year now. Im not 100 percent independent, my dad comes over daily to check on me and remind me to eat, sometimes he cooks for me but for the most part i live alone.

Cooking is a huge hurdle for me, it i very difficult for me because sometimes i forget the steps, i overcook or undercook meals, i spill food due to poor handi cordnation, i burn myself, i do things in the wrong sequence. I dont like cooking and my food options are limited due to sensory sensitivity. My solution is TV dinners and Kraft mac and cheese (or kraft dinner for short) i just eat very simple and easy to cook meals to avoid anxiety and stress and possibly burningg down my house.


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Joe90
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05 Aug 2016, 6:53 pm

I get anxious about cooking. I have a boyfriend, and I am trying to practice cooking in his apartment, because when I move in I want to be able to cook him a healthy and substantial meal so that it's ready for when he gets home from work (he does work 10-12 hours a day, and I'm only part time).

When cooking I get confused when there's too many numbers. So I read the instructions over and over, to make sure I get it right. Also I get confused over the little things. And I am no good at handling hot things, I approach hot plates and trays very gingerly, fully armed with thick oven gloves. And cutting and peeling cheese or vegetables is my worst of all, because I always end up cutting my fingers instead.


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RabidFox
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05 Aug 2016, 7:02 pm

I couldn't cook to save my life.

But there is this wonderful invention called ready meals! :D They actually taste quite good and you can get them very cheaply. The instructions are simple and all you have to do is use a microwave.

As for what I can actually do on the hob, I can heat up hot dogs. And that's really it. I can't do anything with the oven. I'm too afraid of it to be honest and I don't know how to use it anyway.

However, you don't have to heat up things on the hob that come in a can. Just use the microwave. It doesn't have the best taste, but it will be good enough to satisfy you. There's all kinds of food that you can prepare in a microwave other than ready meals.

And then you just need cereal and sandwiches. Just make sure to always eat vegetables and fruit with every dinner. You get sick if you don't eat balanced.

Also, don't forget the toaster!



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05 Aug 2016, 7:13 pm

It can get expensive as an alternative to cooking from scratch, but.....pre-packaged salads, sandwiches, cold dishes like those packaged pastas and vegetables. Lots of things that come in little plastic dishes and stuff. And yes, ready meals you stick in a microwave and just have to select "3 minutes" etc. There's lots of things that come pre-cooked and ready to eat either cold or microwaved, if you don't want to cook on a stovetop or in an oven.

It's not always the healthiest option, as these things tend to have high sodium content and other downsides. But when, or if, you just can't cook for any reason, these are out there.

On a healthier note there are pre-packaged, pre-cut and prepared vegetables and fruits and things.

Most days I cannot face any more complex preparation than peeling back plastic and tapping microwave buttons. Or eating a pre packaged something or other. Yes that's awful, terrible, unhealthy. But I just can't. I hate to cook, with all my heart. When I try, I actually can make things. I can make simple meals. But I hate it and I don't want to do it.

I currently do not own a stove/oven. I get by with just my microwave and things that don't need any cooking or microwaving.

If you must cook, try to cheat on preparation by getting pre-prepared items like pre-cut vegetables, instead of cutting them yourself from fresh, and jars of sauces instead of having to cook a sauce from scratch. Again, pricier than buying the fresh ingredients and prepping from scratch, but if you really don't want to do all the prep from scratch, you might feel like the sheer convenience is worth it to you.

Personally I feel like cooking from scratch can actually be more expensive because if I had to buy every little ingredient, every spice, every fresh herb, etc that went into that delicious sauce I just poured out of a jar ready-made, that meal would probably cost five times more. Seriously, I don't buy into the idea that all fresh ingredients are cheaper -- they're not when you figure-in having to stock up with all the incidentals you have to add, that make anything taste worth a sh!t. There are ready-meals costing only £1 or $1, that taste far better than something I could cook from scratch but had to spend $10 buying all the fancy little tasty spices and things that made the food taste interesting instead of bland.

I've yet to find a recipe that reads as a simple one, to me. For some reasons even the clearest instructions in a recipe start to look like it's written in a foreign language, and my mind shuts down. I don't know why. Recipes and trying to follow one freaks out my brain.


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AnneOleson
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05 Aug 2016, 7:36 pm

After all of these years l am an okay cook. Get some good, basic cook books, a kitchen timer and if it will make you feel more comfortable get a fire extinguisher for the kitchen.



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06 Aug 2016, 12:40 am

I love to cook. One form of this is my primary special interest so I'm all over it.
I get laser-edge focused when cooking which is always relaxing and the product is beautiful, especially as I'm very fussy with food.
Perhaps if you can get yourself interested in a certain kind of food / cuisine (vegetarian would do, as I'm veg too and veg food can be aesthetically gorgeous) and just experiment and try to have fun with it, not be so worried about doing wrong? If you're trying out a new recipe or ingredient, everyone has food flops. You cook it and it sucks. Happens all the time - you just get rid of that recipe and try something else. It doesn't have to be perfect all the time.
If you have a few successful experiments and the process becomes enjoyable, and you have been able to observe that the oven isn't going to cause a fire and it's ok if the pan sizzles, you might find yourself relaxing and getting accustomed to it. It can be a very enjoyable hobby approached with that attitude in mind - researching recipes, making a cookbook / box of your own, getting a cookbook / magazine collection, even using taking classes as a social bridge. What was once a deficit a d a cause of stress could turn into a great past time. :)


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06 Aug 2016, 1:03 am

I also feel anxious about cooking. I'm starting with the basics... but I'm not getting much past the basics because Mom's a workaholic and I don't have a dad or an older sibling. If your mom has time, you could ask her to walk you through it. You could also start with easier recipes or instant food. It's frustrating at first, but the only way to get better is to practice.



Joe90
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06 Aug 2016, 3:10 am

RabidFox wrote:
I couldn't cook to save my life.

But there is this wonderful invention called ready meals! :D They actually taste quite good and you can get them very cheaply. The instructions are simple and all you have to do is use a microwave.

As for what I can actually do on the hob, I can heat up hot dogs. And that's really it. I can't do anything with the oven. I'm too afraid of it to be honest and I don't know how to use it anyway.

However, you don't have to heat up things on the hob that come in a can. Just use the microwave. It doesn't have the best taste, but it will be good enough to satisfy you. There's all kinds of food that you can prepare in a microwave other than ready meals.

And then you just need cereal and sandwiches. Just make sure to always eat vegetables and fruit with every dinner. You get sick if you don't eat balanced.

Also, don't forget the toaster!


Microwave meals are ok to have sometimes, but you shouldn't really live on them every day.


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Dwarvyn
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06 Aug 2016, 7:12 am

You could invest in a slow cooker (crock pot). You can usually pick up a second hand one pretty cheap, either from a thrift store or a garage sale (or if your family is the kind to 'donate' to the younger generation as they're moving out, maybe ask for one), and you can even get new ones that aren't that expensive. A quick search on Amazon shows multiple 1.5L and 3.5L slow cookers for under £20.

LimboMan wrote:
I am a vegeterian so I don't need to worry much about overcooked meat.

There are plenty of vegetarian soups, stews, curries, sauces, etc. that can be made in the slow cooker, and even things like lasagnas and casseroles.

http://allrecipes.com/recipes/1205/ever ... egetarian/
http://ohmyveggies.com/50-vegetarian-sl ... r-recipes/
http://www.wisebread.com/35-slow-cooker ... egetarians

Or just google "easy vegetarian slow cooker recipes".
LimboMan wrote:
But its the preparing food wrong part which worries me. Lots of food I've seen the preparing details are very scarce, or even show diagrams of instruction I can't understand and I get into a panic.

Most recipes are going to be minor prep: cutting vegetables, measuring spices/liquids, etc., dump into slow cooker at breakfast, come back and eat at dinner time. These recipes are usually made to be foolproof, and allow a large margin for error.
LimboMan wrote:
And then there's using the oven and the hob. Even the sound of the oven running makes me think its going to blow up or cause a fire (serious) and the hissing of the saucepans makes me on edge.

Slow cookers don't get that hot, so you're quite unlikely to cause a fire (no more than any other minor electrical object like a lamp) and they're usually very stable so you're unlikely to knock it over. Some slow cookers will make a noise as they turn their heat generation on and off to regulate temperature, but it will probably be a mechanical 'click' or similar rather than anything directly relatable to heat/fire/etc. You could probably find one that didn't make any sound if it's an issue.
LimboMan wrote:
Its just the thought of preparing something wrong or missing a step and the hidden safety aspects rules I need to know operating these machines.

Slow cookers are very easy to use. You're usually only looking at two (off/on) or three (off/low/high) settings. Make sure you get one that's very obviously marked if you're worried about forgetting which setting is which. Recipes will frequently list cooking times for both high and low settings (e.g. 2-3 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low), depending on how much time you want to wait before eating it.

The list of safety rules is short: don't turn it on when it's empty; pick them up by the handles if they've recently been on; open the lid away from you so the steam doesn't go in your face, don't submerge in water when you're washing it (some slow cookers have a removable inner section that you can wash completely, so if you're worried about accidentally getting water on the wrong parts, look into one of those)... I think that's basically it. If you accidentally leave it plugged in overnight, you're not going to start a fire; at worst you may end up with some VERY mushy veggies :)

Amounts in recipes are very lenient, as the ingredients are mostly about flavour rather than chemical reactions that need just the right relative amounts of ingredient A and B. No listed size/measurement (e.g. 1 carrot instead of 1 large carrot or 1 cup of chopped carrot) means go with a medium-sized one. If you like a specific ingredient, put more in or leave it out if you don't like it or replace it with something else! I almost always increase the garlic in recipes because I really like garlic, but I'll usually leave out onion or put in less than the recipe calls for.

Make sure you know how big your slow cooker is; don't make the full recipe intended for a 6 qt slow cooker if you've only a 3 qt (I made that mistake last time I made pea soup... mushy peas everywhere!). If your slow cooker is in litres and the recipe lists quarts, google the conversion to make sure you have enough room ("3 quarts in litres").
LimboMan wrote:
And if someone is making lots of things at once to put on their plate, I don't know how they can do that multitasking.

Slow cooker recipes are mostly one-dish meals: everything in the pot, wait, serve. Which means limited dishes to wash as well, which is always a bonus for me: pot, plate/bowl, spoon/fork, cutting board, cutting knife, maybe a measuring cup/spoon.



RabidFox
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06 Aug 2016, 12:53 pm

Joe90 wrote:
Microwave meals are ok to have sometimes, but you shouldn't really live on them every day.


I just can't cook. It's the best that I could ever do on my own.



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06 Aug 2016, 1:00 pm

Joe90 wrote:
Microwave meals are ok to have sometimes, but you shouldn't really live on them every day.


HAHAHAHHAA oh you have underestimated me, or should i say over estimated me.

I have lived on my own for a year, and i can count on my fingers how many times a cooked a meal that didnt come out of a package. Twice, and technically they were instant mashed potatoes and frozen vegetables.

I have eated fully cooked meals but not cooked by me.

If i cook for myself, its out of a package and more than likely cooked in a microwave.


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LimboMan
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06 Aug 2016, 2:03 pm

Many thanks for your replies everyone I've yet to read each one yet but I'm glad I'm not in the dark about cooking independently. Another thing I get confused about is how some food even though there's a use by or best by date, it can still go "off" Apart from checking for mould or smell.


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Leahcar
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06 Aug 2016, 4:02 pm

I cannot cook at all. I feel very nervous around heat and open flame, and I'm not good at using knifes. I can get very panicky and I'm not good at planning ahead. I wish I could learn how to cook, but I don't think I can ever see myself doing it.


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06 Aug 2016, 4:15 pm

Any kind of complicated cooking tends to put me in a bad mood, I don't like having to synchronise several items. So I simplify things, I eat a lot of sandwiches with raw ingredients, and I've got a "standard formula" for that. I do a few heated-up meals, easy stuff like mashed potatoes, fried egg, veggie burgers (don't trust me to look after meat!), and I bake my own bread with an easy recipe of my own. In the UK it's easy to get dried soup in sachets, some of which is quite nice stuff, and it's just a matter of adding boiling water and giving it a good stir.